Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Nikko Bear - The Babe Magnet

One thing can be be said about Nikko Bear, he attracted women like a magnet which explains why we started calling him The Babe Magnet. Partly because he was so handsome and friendly and partly because of he loved to meet people, whenever and wherever we took him girls would stop by to say nice things about him, pet him and give him a hug. I am not making this up. Nikko was an instant celebrity at the Vet's office. Whenever we took any of the Rotts to the Vet we took the whole family and it was like a party when he was there. So many girls stopped to see him that I started bringing my camera to take pictures. It got to the point that I had made up some T-shirts with his picture on it and gave one to every girl who gave him a hug. Along with the hugs, Nikko returned the favor with a kiss. One of Nikko's biggest fans was Dianna, one of the office managers. Here are a few pictures.

The strong affection shown to Nikko by his friend Dianna at the Vet's office at Ft. Wright Pet Care may have saved his life. 

During the early morning hours on Tuesday, July 11, 2000 - Nikko Bear decided to jump down off his Mom's bed where he sleeps every night. He must have landed the wrong way because we found him laying in the upstairs bath tub when we got up and he had trouble getting out of it. We noticed he was walking with difficulty and decided to take him to the vet. After x-rays were taken we were told a lesion was found on his spine. Wednesday, July 12th we started looking for an Orthopedic specialist for a second opinion. Nikko Bear was now having a lot of trouble walking. Thursday, July 13th Nikko Bear became paralyzed in his hind legs. Two ladies named Kristen and Dianna who worked at our veterinarian's office Fort Wright Pet Care were most likely responsible for setting the stage for The Bear's recovery. Kristen contacted by telephone what is probably the best place in the entire mid-west for surgical treatment, Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine located in Columbus, Ohio - about 120-miles away.

Get Nikko to Columbus before 4:00pm and they would look at him, we were told. We broke some speed limits on the way. We made the 120 mile trip in less than 2 hours.

Later that night after we returned home we got a phone call from Dr. Michael Podell, the surgeon from OSU who told us that he operated on Nikko Bear and removed a ruptured a disk from his spine between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. Dr. Podell said Nikko's spinal cord had suffered severe trauma and had extensive swelling and bruising. We were extremely fortunate to have such talented people as Dr. Michael Podell, Associate Professor of Small Animal Medicine perform the operation. Dr. Podell was assisted by Dr. Steven Flegel, resident in Neurology.
I was told by one of the female students who work at the OSU Vet Clinic that after their initial examination they decided they needed a CAT Scan of Nikko's back. At the time the school didn't have such equipment so after it got dark they snuck Nikko across the street to the Childrens Hospital and did the CAT Scan there. I was so impressed with this level of dedication that I added a special compliment to this school on my web site.
Friday morning, July 14th, Dr. Podell called again. Nikko Bear didn't like the place and was becoming aggressive and they could not take care of him any more. We had to come and pick him up right away.

Friday afternoon, we were given a very grim prognosis on Nikko's future. Dr. Podell showed us how to perform physical therapy on The Bear's hind legs to prevent atrophy. We were given literature on wheeled prosthesis and told we should not expect any signs of leg movement for two weeks. It may be possible for Nikko to walk again within 4-6 weeks but the damage was too extensive to make any predictions.

Friday evening, we arrived home and I had to carry The Bear into the house and up the stairs. We made a nice bed for him in the first-floor den which looks out on the hallway to the kitchen, one of his favorite places. My wife Jackie, had made supper and called me to come out and eat. As soon as I sat down, Nikko Bear dragged himself up onto his feet and hobbled into the kitchen walking on all four legs. This was less than 24-hours from having Spinal Surgery. See the above photos taken that night.

Nikko Bear's recovery from that day to present has been unbelievable. He seems to be his old happy, playful self again which makes us think he was in pain for some time before he jumped off the bed. We're just as happy to have him back.

 Photos of Nikko Bear at home the day after he had spinal cord surgery.
Nikko Bear lived more than four years after recovering from that surgery and those were the prime years of his life. Living a pampered, stress-free life probably allowed him to live beyond his life expectancy but when he was 12 Neek became very ill. When he also developed problems walking around we decided the best thing was to put him to sleep. We talked to Dianna at the Vet's office and she arranged to come to our house with one of the doctors and take care of it. As Nikko went to sleep for the last time Dianna cradled his head in her lap and cried.

Nikko Bear was buried in the same grave as Felony in Highland Pet Cemetery and they share a single headstone along side their daughter Mocha.

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